Wakeboarding is a sport derived and intertwined from a number of sports, resulting in what it is today. It’s a hybrid and unconventional sister of water skiing and surfing. Historians recall surfers being towed with a ski rope behind a boat and, sometimes even from the shoreline by a truck. However, surfers soon realized that the traditional surf boards were too long for this kind of a sport. From this, shorter boards started being used. In 1985, a San Diego surfer named Tony Finn developed the Skurfer — a hybrid of a water ski and a surfboard. It looked like a little surfboard, and was pulled by a boat while the rider performed surf-style carving moves on the wake. Riders stood anywhere on these boards since there were no straps or bindings.
Nowadays, wakeboarders have the luxury of securing their feet in place using boots that are fastened to the wakeboard itself. The interesting part here is that this innovation came from two different people at the same time who had no idea what each other was doing. Finn added the straps to his Skurfer, while Jimmy Redmon in Austin, Texas, added straps to his Redline design water ski board, which was a smaller version of a surfboard causing raves in Texas. The significance of footstraps cannot be overestimated in the evolution of wakeboarding. Footstraps allowed for big air taking the sport to something more than surfing. Much more like snowboarding and water skiing. It was more dynamic and free-flowing.
Despite all this, the sport was struggling. Both the Skurfer and Redline design boards and their own design hurdles that kept the sport from hitting the craze. The Skurfer had too much buoyancy white the Redline did not have the durability. However, a successful businessman called Herb O’Brien came in and developed something called as the Hyperlite — the first compression-molded neutral-buoyancy wakeboard. This heavier wakeboard could be easily submerged and helped the rider to effortlessly lift himself out of the water from a resting position. The Hyperlite model helped riders to create innovative tricks.
The sport flourished professionally in 1992 when World Sports & Marketing, a Florida-based sports promoter and event organizer, began staging pro wakeboard events. This gave wakeboarders a chance to compete professionally and gave them exposure on ESPN and later ESPN2. The sport then got its own national publication when Wake Boarding magazine was launched in 1993 by World Publications. The Pro Wakeboard Tour continues to grow each year as does the sport's magazine.
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